It’s November. Cold and flu season is here and raging. Do you have kids? Are you ready?
You need to be ready.
I’ve been working on this article for weeks but kept getting delayed because my own kids were sick.
I’m going to outline what my supply closet looks like and suggest a few additions to your sick-season ammunition. This is a battle…and you should be prepared.
We have young kids (4,2,1) so some of these items won’t apply to older kids. But if you have young kids prone to croup, ear aches and upper respiratory infections…you’ll want to pay attention. Cold and Flu Season is brutal no matter how you prepare. But just a few steps can give you a slight advantage over the nasty season.
I will also suggest a few items to purchase minimize the impact of the season.
#1: Organize Supplies
For reals. Don’t assume you have enough cough medicine or Tylenol. Take inventory. If you own a nebulizer, check to ensure you have all the parts. Is everything ready to go? You don’t want to need something at 3:00am. Get organized while everyone is healthy. Toss any expired or random stuff without lids. It shouldn’t take long. And while you’re at it…. COMBINE all supplies into one location. I’m telling you. When you’re half awake and the kids are crying, puking etc…. you don’t want to be fumbling around looking for anything. You want to know where to look.
This is how I organize our kids medicine. This system has saved my butt more than I can accurately convey. There are 5 drawers: Cough & Cold, Gas & Teething, Pain & Fever, Ear & Nose and Dispensers.
All of the supplies are located inside a Sterilite 5-Drawer system. I’ve always found them cheapest at for around $8 at Walmart. It fits well inside our hall closet but also doesn’t look horrible when displayed. We typically try and keep this near the diaper changing area. The other reason I like this model is there’s room for a large label. Some of the other organizers have drawer pulls leaving no room for labels. I want things easily identified. I’ve seen other versions online and the containers are HUGE with stockpiles of lotions and medicine. I personally don’t like stock piling (aka: hoarding). But … I digress.
Does making labels scare you? No worries. I’ve created the Hall Closet / Medicine Cabinet labels for you! (YEAH FOR SOMEONE ELSE DOING THE WORK!) I used Avery address label 5160 for these labels. I wanted large text because again…I want to help “exhausted you” at 3:00am. Large font, clearly labeled will help in the middle of the night.
I also included bonus labels I use in my hall closet. Happy organizing!
If you’d rather make your own labels…you can certainly use a handheld label maker. This is the one I use. It’s cheap and has a convenient magnetic holder. I keep mine on the fridge so it’s always handy. (Warning: If you proudly display your label maker on the fridge, be prepared for snarky remarks and mockery. Just smile and show them your organized closet.)
#2 Update Your Tools
Ok. I share these tips with hesitation. Because I think far too many parents shun advice and expertise from the medical community. However, there are many tools parents can use at home to help navigate scary moments. They can help determine when it’s time to seek extra medical help.
EAR ACHES: These suck so bad. Consider purchasing the Original Doctor Mom Otoscope to detect ear infection at home. My oldest son had a major ear infection 2 years ago that traumatized our entire family. He was delirious, panicked, eyes rolling around and ultimately both ear drums burst. I found blood all over his pillow and coming out of his ears. It was horrifying. Now…listen to me. Trained medical professionals couldn’t originally find the infection and I’m in NO WAY saying this tool could have prevented that fiasco. Hear me out (pun intended), ear infections can come on quickly. His ears could have looked fine inside the doctor’s office. Regardless, during cold and flu season, I’m thrilled to have this tool in my closet to double check through out the day / night. If your kids get earaches – this is a great tool for your family.
CROUP & COUGHING SPELLS : Pediatric Oxygen Monitor This little gadget is my new favorite medical tool.
When you check into urgent care or the ER, nurses use that small clip that attaches to your pointer finger and checks for oxygen levels and the pulse. When dealing with a “croupy” child, parents can take the child into the shower (steam) or outside into the cold air. These methods are great but it’s SUPER hard to know if it’s working especially if they’re crying. The sound of a child with croup is scary even if you’re experienced and understand what’s happening.
To combat that “unknown”…. I purchased this pediatric oxygen monitor. It was only $24 you guys. Again – I’m not saying this device should bypass excellent medical attention…but if your child’s oxygen levels drops you’d KNOW and could take them in quickly.
FEVER: Is your thermometer accurate? The tongue ones can be iffy especially if the device is older. I remember a friend borrowing my thermometer and shocked it showed her child had a high fever. Her cheap one kept showing 99. My newer one showed 104.5. That’s a big difference with a small child. I use this forehead one with infrared technology. There’s no need to panic over high fevers but having accurate data is important.
ADULTS ONLY: Buy whiskey. Your drunk aunt was right. Hot Toddy’s have been scientifically proven to HELP with cold symptoms. If you’re local – I make a good one.
Thanks for reading. And good luck out there!